We aren't eating any take out food, but it doesn't mean we don't hanker after a good hot and sour soup! If you are eating cornstarch, and can tolerate just a dab of hot sesame oil, this comes pretty close. We didn't have the range of dried mushrooms and fungus, those interesting little pickled vegetables etc. So we imitated them! We used one dill pickle spear and slivered off slices to give that strange pale pickled texture, and added in obliquely sliced green beans for the same reason, to provide textures. We'll keep playing with this, but the two of us ate nearly a whole quart! One drawback -- there is definitely a salt content in this dish, even made at home with low sodium Tamari.
Hot & Sour Soup Version One
(makes 2 quarts)
1/2 small can bamboo shoots (about 7 ounces)
6-7 green beans
1 leaf savoy cabbage
1 dill pickle spear
1 medium carrot
6 oz soft tofu
1/4 cup dry maitake (or other) mushrooms
4-5 shiitake mushrooms
1 quart (4 cups) Organic vegetable broth
1 dried slice of papaya (optional)
cornstarch - 3 tablespoons
1/4 cup water
2 Tblsp Low Sodium Tamari
2 Tblsp Black Vinegar
1 tsp Mirin
1/2 tsp-1 tsp hot sesame oil (you can use hot pepper flakes)
1 tsp roasted sesame oil (optional)
1. Slice bamboo shoots, green beans, cabbage, sliver the pickles and carrots in thin sticks. Cut tofu into thin sticks too. Slice the shiitake mushroom caps into 1/4 inch slices, without their stems.
2. Put dried maitake mushrooms and bits of one piece of dried papaya in 1/2 cup hot water and set aside to soak.
3. Mix 1/2 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp mirin with the sliced tofu and set aside.
4. Put 4 cups broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn it down and put all the crunchy shredded vegetables into the soup for 5 minutes of simmer.
5. Mix black vinegar, tamari, cornstarch and 1/4 cup water, plus the hot sesame oil and set aside.
6. When vegetables begin to soften, turn off the fire under the pot and add the sauce with cornstarch, tofu mixture and the scallions. Stir a few times as it begins to thicken, and serve!